Brother John (Daniel Payne) video
See also: Brother John (Kelly Russell and Jim Payne)
#1500: YouTube video by oldirishladdie
©2010 ~ Used with permission ~

Oh, first when I came in this world
my troubles they began,
Because I had a brother, John,
who proved to be a twin;
We looked like one another,
you couldn't tell one from the other,
And often I would bear the blame
for looking like my brother.

Oh, John he was a hunchback
and he proved to be a crook,
One night upon the street
he swiped a lady's pocketbook;
As soon as he had swiped it,
sure he escaped and ran,
And when they saw me comin' up
they said I was the man.

I said I wasn't the man
who swiped the lady's pocketbook,
The cop he cracked me on the pole,
me knees they fairly shook;
He didn't believe I had a twin,
we looked like one another,
And I spent the night a jailbird
for looking like my brother.

One night as I was walking
with my girlie by my side,
John's wife she comes creepin',
comes creepin' up behind;
Saying, John, you little filthy,
you filthy little rat,
Says I, you are mistaken,
you are takin' me for Jack.

Oh, she grabbed me by the hair of the head
and she hauled me to her home,
She hauled me up the stairs
and she barred me in the room;
She went down and got her mother,
her mother I suppose,
And the both of them beat me black and blue
from my head down to my toes.

Well, time went by,
old John got sick and died,
He was taken to the cemetery,
it was a full event;
The hearse went fast, the corpse slipped off,
they did not miss him gone,
And when they saw me by the grave
they said that I was John.

Well, the undertaker grabbed me
and says, John, you must behave,
You know you're dead, and you must not kick,
you must go in your grave;
They put me in a pine box,
I hollered like a bugger,
And they buried me up in under the ground
for looking like my brother.

####.... Author unknown. Original Newfoundland song ....####
This variant recorded acapella by Daniel Obediah Payne from Cow Head on The Northern Peninsula (Chain, trk#8, 2008, DOP productions, Corner Brook, NL, recorded and mastered by Paul MacDonald in St Ann's Bay, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia).

A variant was also recorded as Brother John by Kelly Russell and Jim Payne (Pigeon Inlet Productions, 1981).

See more songs by Jim Payne.

Two slightly different variants were collected in 1951 from Thomas (Tom) Finlay [1885-?] of St Schott's and Cyril O'Brien [ca.1902-?] of Trepassey, NL, and published as The Twins in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada ©2004, Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).


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